Month: May 2008

The Warped Mind of the Ecofascism Conspiracy Theorist

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Colonos recently referred to David Suzuki in the context of DiCaprio’s documentary about climate chaos and change, the appropriately titled “11th Hour” (link should be generated automagically below) – and doing a bit of googling for that purpose led me to some presumptuous nonsense? about Suzuki being an “ecofascist”:

Eco fascism, can be used in two different ways:

  1. For specific elements of radical environmentalism which are openly affiliated with neo-fascism, or which share conceptual similarities with fascist theories. It is used critically from an external source, and somewhat less commonly used from within as a self label, to refer to various white nationalist and third positionist groups who incorporate environmentalist positions into their ideology.
  2. The term is also used as a political epithet by political conservatives to discredit deep ecology, mainstream environmentalism, and other left and non-left ecological positions, and less frequently by political leftists to discredit environmental movements they see as non-left such as deep ecology.”

So who do the conspiracy theorists think are behind this socalled ecofascism? None others than the very same kind of people that actual, radical environmentalists – anyone that I have ever met, and it is quite a few anyway – would call the greenwashers:

Greenwashing is the unjustified appropriation of environmental virtue by a company, an industry, a government, a politician or even a non-government organization to create a pro-environmental image, sell a product or a policy, or to try and rehabilitate their standing with the public and decision makers after being embroiled in controversy. Read the rest of this entry »

Update on Nottingham “terror” arrest: A lying University will not be an “open and free arena for debate and dissent”

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This is a follow-up to the recent case at Nottingham University where the combination of misinformed, xenophobic colleagues, an administration without perspective and law making far beyond the rule of law led to the arrest and prolonged detainment of a student and staff and confiscation of their belongings simply for doing their job: finding, printing and investigating documents.

What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate and a sheepish, dependent and pathetic bunch of business administrators – jacks of all administrative trades, masters of no intellect – who call the anti terror cops on their own students and staff without reflection, without (reasonable) thought and with no sense of reality at all.

Colonos have just written to Alf Nilsen to clarify the exact meaning of the third last paragraph, which commences: “Fourthly, the claim that…” which appears to be written a bit too hastily or merely goes right over my head :)

However, for now – here goes, see for yourself where it’s at:

Dear all – some of you may have written to the Registrar at the University of Nottingham, Dr. Paul Greatrix, to protest the recent false terror arrests at our university, and some of you might also have received a reply. My colleagues and I would like to point out a number of inconsistencies in this reply – see below, and as always: please circulate!!

Comments on University Communication on Recent Events

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Correa condemns the people to suffering and the climate to change

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Here is an article in English that mentions some of the sources referred to by colonos when noting that Rafael Correa don’t give a toss about the indigenous people and campesinos whose self-described saviour he likes to present himself as in the global media’s corporate eye – something which he to quite some extent share with his Bolivian partner in populistic crime, Evo aMoralas, who:

“…rejected oil and gas expropriation, supports Big Oil interests, and embraced business as usual policies. Under nationalizations Morales-style, current contractual arrangements are effectively intact, and the country’s mineral resources have been sold off to the greatest ever number of foreign investors.

In addition, Morales broke his promise to triple the painfully low minimum wage, increased it 10% instead, and maintained previous neoliberal fiscal austerity and economic stability policies. He also tolerates the US Drug Enforcement Agency’s intrusive presence and the Pentagon’s Chapare military base; appointed hard right economic, defense and other ministers; opposed agrarian reform; supports large landowners; provides them large subsidies and tax incentives; and backs the Confederation of Private Businessmen in Bolivia by promoting foreign investment, social spending cuts, prioritization of exports, and other pro-business policies above the interests of the people who elected him. Petras says Morales “excels in public theater” by combining “political demagogy” to his base while backing neoliberal IMF austerity and business-friendly policies”. (Read more about forgotten promises here.)

We’re much too busy to translate, sooo many documents floating about these days, so here goes from Upsidedownworld.org, beginning with a highlight:

According to the CONAIE declaration, “We reject President Rafael Correa´s racist, authoritarian and antidemocratic statements, which violate the rights of [Indigenous] nationalities and peoples enshrined in international conventions and treaties. This constitutes an attack against the construction of a plurinational and intercultural democracy in Ecuador. Correa has assumed the traditional neoliberal posture of the rightist oligarchy.

Read the rest of this entry »

UNASURrender to global capitalism

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Rafael Correa is the poster boy of neo-socialism – he wears Quechua shirts and bathes himself in the limelight of indigeous peoples’ struggle in the global media, makes promises to the poor and the illiterate (and also delivers on some of his promises) – but more than anything he is increasingly despised by the indigenous peoples and the campesinos “who mean nothing to him” and who he represses violently if they organise against the foreign companies that Correa contracts their land away to. Also known in international socialist and even environmental circles as the saviour of the Yasuni national park. But nothing could be further from the truth – as has been reported by the colonos blog since before Correa entered office.

I have just returned from a meeting where yachaks (shamans) from various regions of “el Oriente” (basically the Ecuadorian Amazon) have gathered all weekend to discuss, among other things, Correa’s rejection in the constituent assembly processes of collective rights and a range of specific demands made by the indigenous movements as part of the rewriting of the Ecuadorian constitution. Talks are of strikes and some suggest that another uprising is brewing – at any rate Rafael Correa is very unpopular with indigenous people and campesinos, because he arrogantly have stated that he cares not about their demands since “they only constitute a few percent of his voters“.

So what does Mr. Correa care about – well, like the Clintons he seems mostly fascinated by inscribing himself into the white man’s history of conquest of the world through an industrial economy that is essentially based on exploitation of labour and pachamama (mother earth).

Unasur to boost financial self-sufficiency in S America:

BRASILIA, May 23 (Xinhua) — Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said here Friday that the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) will boost programs to help realize financial self-sufficiency in the region.

After signing the bloc’s constitutive agreement in the Brazilian capital, Correa said it was “a historical day for South America, which brings great expectation and hope.”

“We can do like the European Union (EU). As the EU has to explain why they united, we will have to explain to our children and grandchildren why we took so long to do it,” he told a press conference.”

Correa’s vision and that of UNASUR is about entrance into an economy that many ever since its inception – with the conquest of new worlds and the industrial production apparatus that makes wars for more profit possible – have been fighting. And for quite some years it has been quite clear that it is a very unsustainable economy that the planet cannot sustain.

Of course it is the rich and the powerful who mostly have to change their wasteful ways, but to happily join that horrible economy that Correa is so blinded by and which accelerates climate change and destroys civilization is plain stupid. However, the middle classes who get better roads (this, the year where it seems like we have to take drastic measure and actions to counter climate change, is the year of asphalt in Ecuador), nicer cars to drive them on and bigger supermarkets to park them by and shop in, and of course the capitalists that exploit the natural resources that he so happily gives to foreign and private interests are laughing all the way to the bank while the earth cries.

The rest of the chinese article follows.

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Corridors of destruction and other neo-socialist “progress”

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Six months before the colonos blog came into being the article below – here translated into English – was written in Castellano. It is about what we have been labelling corridors (or interoceanic corridors) or the Manta-Manaus commodity highway. In this article a much more comprehensive perspective is offered – and shows how big, concerted and damaging to the continent and the rest of the world that this global capitalist project is.

Get the whole article in .pdf format.

Re-mapping Latin America’s Future

IIRSA: Integration Custom-Made for International Markets (#1)

Raúl Zibechi | June 13, 2006

Translated from: IIRSA: la integración a la medida de los mercados
Translated by: Nick Henry

Americas Program, Center for International Policy (CIP)

The project for Integration of South American Regional Infrastructure (IIRSA, by its initials in Spanish), is swiftly but silently moving forward. IIRSA is the most ambitious and encompassing plan to integrate the region for international trade. If completed in full, the project would connect zones containing natural resources (natural gas, water, oil, biodiversity) with metropolitan areas, and both of these with the world’s largest markets.

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Student and staff arrested at University of Nottingham: Abusing the Terrorism Act of 2000

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CONSIDER THIS. A fine example of the distortion of the rule of law that the Terrorism Act of 2000 is. It provides the opportunity to switch of due process and being innocent until proven guilty – moreover, and the important catalyst here, it encourages mis- and uninformed people to call the authorities on their neighbour. Boy Cry wolf, where do we go from here? Like climate change processes operate through positive feedback loops, so do law and culture. Two people have probably just been radicalised – and thousands give them their support. As the leaders of the world creep further and deeper into the ir castles their guns and laws are all the more loud. A downward spiral for profit.

Dear Friends,

I’m writing to call your attention to a recent incident at the University of Nottingham, where one of our graduate students at the School of Politics and International Relations and an administrative member of staff at the Department of Engineering were arrested by armed police under the Terrorism Act of 2000.

Their alleged “crime” was that the graduate student had downloaded an Al-Qaeda training manual from a US government website for research purposes, as he’s writing his MA dissertation on Islamic extremism and international terrorist networks. He had then sent this to his friend in the Department of Engineering for printing. The printed material had been spotted by other staff and reported to the University authorities who passed on the information to the police.

The two were then arrested by armed police on May 14 and held for six days without charge, before being released without charge on May 20. During the six days they were imprisoned, the men had their homes raided and their families harassed by the police. It is worth noticing that in talking to one of my colleagues, a police officer remarked that the incident would never have occurred if the people involved had been blonde, Swedish PhD students (the two men were of British-Pakistani and Algerian backgrounds respectively).

The incident was recently reported in the Times Higher Education Supplement online:
http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=402125&c=2

Needless to say, this raises hugely important issues both about academic freedom and civil liberties. Obviously, there is the issue that for those of us involved in research on contentious issues we will by necessity have to consult primary materials of a controversial nature, and the fact that the material is controversial should not lead to it being deemed as illegitimate research material. Moreover, we should not under any circumstances have to fear for infringements upon our civil liberties as a consequence of doing our jobs. Moreover, it goes without saying that the university should guarantee the academic freedom, freedom of speech and expression, and civil liberties of all members of staff and students, irrespective of ethnic and religious background or political beliefs!

I would be most grateful if you could circulate this e-mail as widely as possible in the interest of raising awareness and attention about this incident and the wider issues of academic freedom that it gives rise to, to as many of your friends and colleagues as possible!

Please consider writing to the University of Nottingham to express your concern about this case. Letters should be sent to the Registrar, Dr Paul Greatrix, at registrars@nottingham.ac.uk; please send a copy to alf.nilsen@nottingham.ac.uk.

Regards

Dr. Alf Gunvald Nilsen

RCUK Fellow, Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice, School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/cssgj/index.php
University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, England, UK
Office: (0044) (0) 1159514032